Former Yukos’s Senior Lawyer Dies

The former head of Yukos’s legal department Vasily Aleksanyan has died at his home in Moscow.

Until a certain point his career was skyrocketing. Aleksanyan was one of first Russians who did law at Harvard. He soon became the head of the legal department of a British investment group. In 1996, he landed himself a job as a senior lawyer in then Russia’s largest oil company.

In April 2006 his fortune turned upside-down. He was arrested on charges of embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion.

He never admitted to the crime. He said that the arrest was based on false testimonies taken under pressure from his former subordinate Svetlana Bakhmina, a mother of two imprisoned two years earlier.

In custody his condition rapidly deteriorated. HIV positive, he became almost blind, got liver cancer and tuberculosis. Despite his medical condition demanding urgent antiretroviral treatment and chemotherapy, his bail request was denied.

Only three years later, after an unprecedented international pressure, he was freed. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Aleksanyan had to be released immediately and without bond. Twenty days later he was released, after $2 million bail was paid.